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The Pulp Magazine Archive

Pulp magazines (often referred to as "the pulps"), also collectively known as pulp fiction, refers to inexpensive fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, half an inch thick, and 128 pages long. Pulps were printed on cheap paper with ragged, untrimmed edges.

The name pulp comes from the cheap wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed. Magazines printed on better paper were called "glossies" or "slicks." In their first decades, they were most often priced at ten cents per magazine, while competing slicks were 25 cents apiece. Pulps were the successor to the penny dreadfuls, dime novels, and short fiction magazines of the 19th century. Although many respected writers wrote for pulps, the magazines are best remembered for their lurid and exploitative stories and sensational cover art. Modern superhero comic books are sometimes considered descendants of "hero pulps"; pulp magazines often featured illustrated novel-length stories of heroic characters, such as The Shadow, Doc Savage, and The Phantom Detective.

The first "pulp" was Frank Munsey's revamped Argosy Magazine of 1896, about 135,000 words (192 pages) per issue on pulp paper with untrimmed edges and no illustrations, not even on the cover. While the steam-powered printing press had been in widespread use for some time, enabling the boom in dime novels, prior to Munsey, no one had combined cheap printing, cheap paper and cheap authors in a package that provided affordable entertainment to working-class people. In six years Argosy went from a few thousand copies per month to over half a million.

Street & Smith were next on the market. A dime novel and boys' weekly publisher, they saw Argosy's success, and in 1903 launched The Popular Magazine, billed as the "biggest magazine in the world" by virtue of being two pages longer than Argosy. Due to differences in page layout, the magazine had substantially less text than Argosy. The Popular Magazine introduced color covers to pulp publishing. The magazine began to take off when, in 1905, the publishers acquired the rights to serialize Ayesha, by H. Rider Haggard, a sequel to his popular novel She. Haggard's Lost World genre influenced several key pulp writers, including Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Talbot Mundy and Abraham Merritt. In 1907, the cover price rose to 15 cents and 30 pages were added to each issue; along with establishing a stable of authors for each magazine, this change proved successful and circulation began to approach that of Argosy. Street and Smith's next innovation was the introduction of specialized genre pulps, each magazine focusing on a genre such as detective stories, romance, etc.

At their peak of popularity in the 1920s and 1930s, the most successful pulps could sell up to one million copies per issue. The most successful pulp magazines were Argosy, Adventure, Blue Book and Short Stories described by some pulp historians as "The Big Four". Among the best-known other titles of this period were Amazing Stories, Black Mask, Dime Detective, Flying Aces, Horror Stories, Love Story Magazine, Marvel Tales, Oriental Stories, Planet Stories, Spicy Detective, Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Unknown, Weird Tales and Western Story Magazine. Although pulp magazines were primarily a US phenomenon, there were also a number of British pulp magazines published between the Edwardian era and World War Two. Notable UK pulps included Pall Mall Magazine, The Novel Magazine, Cassell's Magazine, The Story-Teller, The Sovereign Magazine, Hutchinson's Adventure-Story and Hutchinson's Mystery-Story. The German fantasy magazine Der Orchideengarten had a similar format to American pulp magazines, in that it was printed on rough pulp paper and heavily illustrated.

The Second World War paper shortages had a serious impact on pulp production, starting a steady rise in costs and the decline of the pulps. Beginning with Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in 1941, pulp magazines began to switch to digest size; smaller, thicker magazines. In 1949, Street & Smith closed most of their pulp magazines in order to move upmarket and produce slicks.[8] The pulp format declined from rising expenses, but even more due to the heavy competition from comic books, television, and the paperback novel. In a more affluent post-war America, the price gap compared to slick magazines was far less significant. In the 1950s, Men's adventure magazines began to replace the pulp.

The 1957 liquidation of the American News Company, then the primary distributor of pulp magazines, has sometimes been taken as marking the end of the "pulp era"; by that date, many of the famous pulps of the previous generation, including Black Mask, The Shadow, Doc Savage, and Weird Tales, were defunct. Almost all of the few remaining pulp magazines are science fiction or mystery magazines now in formats similar to "digest size", such as Analog Science Fiction and Fact and Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. The format is still in use for some lengthy serials, like the German science fiction weekly Perry Rhodan.

Over the course of their evolution, there were a huge number of pulp magazine titles; Harry Steeger of Popular Publications claimed that his company alone had published over 300, and at their peak they were publishing 42 titles per month. Many titles of course survived only briefly. While the most popular titles were monthly, many were bimonthly and some were quarterly. The collapse of the pulp industry changed the landscape of publishing because pulps were the single largest sales outlet for short stories. Combined with the decrease in slick magazine fiction markets, writers attempting to support themselves by creating fiction switched to novels and book-length anthologies of shorter pieces.

Pulp covers were printed in color on higher-quality (slick) paper. They were famous for their half-dressed damsels in distress, usually awaiting a rescuing hero. Cover art played a major part in the marketing of pulp magazines. The early pulp magazines could boast covers by some distinguished American artists; The Popular Magazine had covers by N.C. Wyeth, and Edgar Franklin Wittmack contributed cover art to Argosy and Short Stories. Later, many artists specialized in creating covers mainly for the pulps; a number of the most successful cover artists became as popular as the authors featured on the interior pages. Among the most famous pulp artists were Walter Baumhofer, Earle K. Bergey, Margaret Brundage, Edd Cartier, Virgil Finlay, Earl Mayan, Frank R. Paul, Norman Saunders, Nick Eggenhofer, (who specialized in Western illustrations), Rudolph Belarski and Sidney Riesenberg. Covers were important enough to sales that sometimes they would be designed first; authors would then be shown the cover art and asked to write a story to match.

Later pulps began to feature interior illustrations, depicting elements of the stories. The drawings were printed in black ink on the same cream-colored paper used for the text, and had to use specific techniques to avoid blotting on the coarse texture of the cheap pulp. Thus, fine lines and heavy detail were usually not an option. Shading was by crosshatching or pointillism, and even that had to be limited and coarse. Usually the art was black lines on the paper's background, but Finlay and a few others did some work that was primarily white lines against large dark areas.

Another way pulps kept costs down was by paying authors less than other markets; thus many eminent authors started out in the pulps before they were successful enough to sell to better-paying markets, and similarly, well-known authors whose careers were slumping or who wanted a few quick dollars could bolster their income with sales to pulps. Additionally, some of the earlier pulps solicited stories from amateurs who were quite happy to see their words in print and could thus be paid token amounts. There were also career pulp writers, capable of turning out huge amounts of prose on a steady basis, often with the aid of dictation to stenographers, machines or typists. Before he became a novelist, Upton Sinclair was turning out at least 8,000 words per day seven days a week for the pulps, keeping two stenographers fully employed. Pulps would often have their authors use multiple pen names so that they could use multiple stories by the same person in one issue, or use a given author's stories in three or more successive issues, while still appearing to have varied content. One advantage pulps provided to authors was that they paid upon acceptance for material instead of on publication; since a story might be accepted months or even years before publication, to a working writer this was a crucial difference in cash flow.

Some pulp editors became known for cultivating good fiction and interesting features in their magazines. Preeminent pulp magazine editors included Arthur Sullivant Hoffman (Adventure), Robert H. Davis (All-Story Weekly), Harry E. Maule (Short Stories) Donald Kennicott (Blue Book), Joseph T. Shaw (Black Mask), Farnsworth Wright (Weird Tales, Oriental Stories), John W. Campbell (Astounding Science Fiction,Unknown) and Daisy Bacon (Love Story Magazine, Detective Story Magazine).

Description of this collection from Wikipedia.

Many issues of this collection come from a variety of anonymous contributors, as well as sites such as The Pulp Magazines Project and ThePulp.net.

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Year
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1971
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1940
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science fiction
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Science Fiction
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Mars
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Martian SFF
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Martians
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SF
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Sci-Fi
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manly wade wellman
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amelia r. long
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don trotter
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eando binder
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edgar rice burroughs
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The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 7,187
favorite 18
comment 0
Topics: fisher, cromek, lowena, logan, chuck, hut, fantasy, benedict, john stuart, thai, prince henry, ihe...
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Clifford D. Simak
texts
eye 1,528
favorite 1
comment 0
1950 Science Fiction novelette reprinted in the May 1966 issue of Fantastic magazine. Blurb: "So it was, so it must be with the myth that told about the great and glowing city that had stood above all other things of Mars -- a city that was known to the far ends of the planet."
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Edgar Rice Burroughs
texts
eye 1,492
favorite 6
comment 0
Science Fiction novella published August 1941 issue of Amazing Stories magazine. Blurb: "Never had John Carter faced more danger than in the polar hothouse city of the yellow men of Mars."
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
If - Worlds Of Science Fiction v01n06 [Quinn] (Jan 1953) (Gorgon776)
Topics: fred, curt, merril, browne, farrell, faraday, smith, stryker, martha, john smith, rog phillips,...
If - Worlds Of Science Fiction v01n02 [Quinn] (May 1952) (Gorgon776)
Topics: steve, teejay, buckmaster, asir, corrigan, wagner, barling, leclarc, greg, big joe, milton lesser,...
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Jack Williamson
texts
eye 1,181
favorite 2
comment 0
Science Fiction novelette published in February 25, 1939 issue of Argosy Weekly magazine. Blurb: "Here is the record of Lucky Leigh's incredible flight; how he piloted his ancient ship through the thunder between two worlds -- to become the first Robinson Crusoe of Space."
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by John W. Campbell
texts
eye 1,100
favorite 2
comment 0
Science Fiction novelette published in the 1952 issue of Wonder Story Annual magazine. Blurb: "Penton and Blake find Mars a pleasant place to be -- until they run afoul of the thushol, which can imitate anything!"
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 1,072
favorite 2
comment 0
1940 issues of Planet Stories
Topics: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Pulp
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 1,069
favorite 2
comment 0
The 1940 issues of Unknown, John W. Campbell's companion to Astounding.
Topics: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Pulp
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Robert F. Young
texts
eye 1,026
favorite 3
comment 0
Science Fiction/Fantasy short story published in July 1962 issue of Amazing Stories magazine. Blurb: "The Tarks were attacking, the bosomy princess was clinging to him in terror, and Harold Smith realized he was at the end of his plot-line. What a dilemma! And what an opportunity!!"
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Fantasy, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by P. Schuyler Miller
texts
eye 968
favorite 1
comment 0
Science Fiction short story published in the January 1943 issue of Astounding Science Fiction magazine. Blurb: "On Mars the laws and customs of existence must be different, and when a dozen of a dozen races seek shelter in a cave..."
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Manly Wade Wellman
texts
eye 938
favorite 2
comment 0
A complete book-length Scientifiction novel of Martian adventure published in the January 1942 issue of Startling Stories magazine. Blurb: "Fresh from Earth, young Dillon Stover is plunged into a mystery on Mars! Tour Palambar, the Martian Pleasure City, with this intrepid Earthman as your guide."
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Don Trotter
texts
eye 923
favorite 1
comment 0
Science Fiction novelette published in February 1975 issue of Galaxy science fiction magazine. Blurb: "The only way to know -- is to go!"
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
If - Worlds Of Science Fiction v02n01 [Quinn] (Mar 1953) (Gorgon776)
Topics: frank, nora, wilson, marquis, minna, bowren, eyes, jim, man, jim wilson, ivar jorgenson, deadly...
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Ross Rocklynne
texts
eye 878
favorite 2
comment 0
1939 Science Fiction novelette reprinted in October 1942 issue of Fantastic Adventures magazine. Blurb: "Death stalked Darak of Werg at every step, but the Royal Bracelet and the Princess of Werg meant far more than one man's life."
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Margaret St. Clair
texts
eye 854
favorite 1
comment 0
Science Fiction short story published in July 1947 issue of Startling Stories magazine. Blurb: "If you ever want a free trip to Mars, all you have to do is mix six slices of diced Super Whost with granulated sugar, chopped apples, golden syrup and -- a large grain of salt."
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by John B. Harris (John Beynon Harris)
texts
eye 807
favorite 2
comment 0
Science Fiction short story published in the April 1932 issue of Amazing Stories magazine, with cover art. Blurb: "Psychologists -- and others -- are greatly concerned about the effects -- possible and assured -- of machines and the machine age, on human life and endeavor. But who has ever stopped to consider the possible reactions -- or thoughts -- of the advanced machine of the future?" Synopsis: A touching tale of a Martian robot named Zat, who commits suicide after being stranded...
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Robert Moore Williams
texts
eye 776
favorite 2
comment 0
Science Fiction short story published in November 1941 issue of Amazing Stories magazine. Blurb: "A horrible thing, a Martian desert. But more horrible is the code of honor of its savage tribesmen." Blurb: "The savage code of the Martians was as ruthless as the desert they lived on; and more valuable than millions in gems."
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Stephen Bartholomew
texts
eye 751
favorite 1
comment 0
Science Fiction short story published in the October 1963 issue of Worlds of Tomorrow magazine. Blurb: "He was the oldest man on Mars ... in fact, the only one!"
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Eando Binder
texts
eye 746
favorite 4
comment 0
Science Fiction short story published in October 1932 issue of Amazing Stories magazine. Blurb: "Our continued experiments in radio and television may play a much more important part in the eventual realization of successful interplanetary travel than we can possibly conceive of right now. But if we stop a moment to think about it, the possibilities of such closely allied work between radio, television and rocket travel take on vast proportions -- one phase of which is vividly portrayed in...
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
Science Fiction Quarterly n06 (1942-Spring.Columbia)
Topics: turber, alan, lea, nanette, tower, stood, quarterly, lentz, fiction, fiction quarterly, science...
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 707
favorite 4
comment 0
Spaceway v01n01 (1953-12.Fantasy)
Topics: cortland, morgan, colby, redmond, arc, jolly, thai, venus, jef, lie, captain morgan, xon van, van...
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Gordon A. Giles
texts
eye 647
favorite 2
comment 0
Science Fiction short story published in the February 1941 issue of Amazing Stories magazine. Blurb: "The linking of two worlds hinged on the result of the astronomers observations. Would the Winking Lights be seen?"
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Manly Wade Wellman
texts
eye 646
favorite 2
comment 0
Science Fiction novelette published in November 1951 issue of Future magazine. Blurb: "Ismail, the Outworlder, found that his reputation was a very convenient thing for lesser known-thives ..."
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Harl Vincent
texts
eye 643
favorite 1
comment 0
Novelette published in Amazing Stories (July 1932) Synopsis: Suspenseful pulp story of adventure and intrigue set in in year 2007 along banks of Canal Pyramus on culturally-sophisticated but politically-fractured Schiaparellian red planet.
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Amelia R. Long
texts
eye 600
favorite 3
comment 0
Science Fiction short story published in July 1939 issue of Astounding Science-Fiction magazine. Blurb: "The Martian had a fine idea for capturing trade: be a god. The native Venusians, though, had an infallible test--"
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by S. M. Tenneshaw
texts
eye 564
favorite 2
comment 0
Science Fiction short story published in the November 1958 issue of Space Travel magazine. Blurb: "Centuries before something had destroyed life in the solar system. That portion of space was now off limits -- but not for a hunted man ..."
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Henrik Dahl Juve
texts
eye 547
favorite 1
comment 0
Science Fiction novelette published in August 1930 issue of Wonder Stories magazine. Blurb: "Suddenly the Martians' friendliness vanished and they became merciless killers ..."
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
texts
eye 538
favorite 2
comment 0
Science Fiction short story published in Vortex Science Fiction Vol. 1, No. 2 (1953).
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by James Norman
texts
eye 442
favorite 1
comment 0
Science Fiction novelette published in the October 1942 issue of Fantastic Adventures magazine. Blurb: "Oscar of Mars didn't quite expect to track down an arch criminal and find out it was -- himself!"
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Mark Clifton and Alex Apostolides
texts
eye 433
favorite 1
comment 0
Science Fiction short story published in August 1953 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction magazine. Blurb: "Naturally, the superior race should win, but superior by which standards, and whose?"
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF
The Pulp Magazine Archive
by Lucius Daniel
texts
eye 332
favorite 1
comment 0
Science Fiction short story published in April 1952 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction magazine. Blurb: "It was a wonderful bodyguard: no bark, no bite, no sting -- just conversion of the enemy!"
Topics: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, SF, Mars, Martians, Martian SFF